I mentioned a while back about a non-landed group that we had had a couple of decades ago in southern Arizona, “Southern Arizona Naturist Society, SANS.” Today, we will be hiking similarly with a group. This is a different way to be free range than what DF and I usually present.
We are in the Prescott, Arizona area. Our host has created, or refurbished a trail in the nearby mountains and we’re all meeting up to hike it naked.
On Sunday, during our three days in the Prescott area, we visit with a set of DF’s relatives in the morning. Not adverse to nude recreation, they are dealing with some health issues and have bowed out of a nude hike. We go through old memorabilia and picture books, call other family and exchange Father’s Day well wishes.
Ken and Amie stop by to collect us after their church services for a short hike in the Mingus Mountain area.
After the winding road through the pine covered mountains, we pull off and roll down the windows, smelling the fresh cool air and then we wait. There isn’t a cloud in the blue sky today. The rains have cleared out completely.
DF and I had immediately undressed when we first got into the backseat of Amy’s car for the drive. Our friends are preparing, as we put our hiking shoes on our feet. In a few minutes a van pulls up with bicycles on top. Two cyclists had already passed. They are all a part of a group that is cycling across America to Annapolis, Maryland from California. They are doing it in a sort of tandem. We remain nude in the car, observing.
Soon, a second car pulls up. Friendly and busy, they continue on their epic bike ride and their system of preparations.
A third car pulls up and this time right next to us. This is one of our hiking party. Ken knows him, but was expecting Ed. The newcomer mentions that we “all look ready.” Well, four nude and nearly nude individuals sitting in the SUV. We rearrange our parking, creating more room for more cars, as we continue our wait. We’re a tad early. Two more cars arrive including Ed. We will be seven hikers today.
Ken is industrious about his trail blazing and very thoughtful. He had found an old overgrown trail off the side of the road on a bend. There is a pullout parking area there. From this, he has created an approximately one half mile trail for naturist wandering.
We make our way across the curve in the road, all dressed in various manners. As soon as the opportunity seems reasonable, I quickly drop away my sarong and roll it up to cushion my shoulder straps. I’m carrying water and a camera bag.
Around a bend, there is a rock face, with natural shelving and tree branches. The procedure is to use it as a locker room, leaving all of our clothing, but hats and shoes here.
The trail is well planned and other than a few broken beer bottles at the very beginning; the area has not been used in years. It has a pristine abundance and diversity about it. Many older trees meet brush and even cactus.
We meander through the forest in a line, stopping occasionally to inspect, or discuss a plant, or a geological feature. Ken is always the conscientious careful leader and host. This is his trail, his gift to naturists.
DF and I approach a spot where the mountain has lines of cleavage that give the impression that we have stumbled onto an ancient archeological site in an Indiana Jones movie. With the steep slope of the mountain we might have uncovered the base of a gigantic pyramid. It is fun, we take photos.
Many of the alligator juniper are shaped differently from our Southern Arizona varieties. They have a very thick base which branches out like a huge pinion pine. There are several along the way and curiously, coincidentally, each time that we stop to take a photo, they are framed by a pair of ponderosa pines.
It feels good to hang from an old tree’s branch.
There are Mexican bushes along the way that hide prickers among their leaves. We must take care, but Ken has cleared most away from the trail.
Eventually, we arrive at a circle of logs under a tree. It’s a sitting place. This is the end of the trail. We all are ready to rest, the elevation has climbed higher. We are approaching 7000 ft., but some of us are curious and ready to push on. With Ken’s lead, DF, myself and Bill do.
There is a wood border along the trail for several feet, then things begin to change.
Ken has plans to elongate the passage at some time. It would be a good healthy way to spend a few days, or a week in the mountains.
We explore this area that represents the rugged state, before Ken’s trail was cut.
There is also an offshoot canyon. Eventually, we find ourselves bogged down in a bushwhack of potential excavation and choose to return to the others. There, we sit and rest, snack and take some pictures.
One thing about a group hike, there is continuous chatter. We are discussing other hikes, how to get the word out to others, the different ways to communicate on social media and how do we meet up.
There are several blogs and Facebook pages, some are made secret. A networking is happening and growing in the northern end of our state. There are more and more free-ranging activities and participants.
We eventually make our way back toward our locker room. DF, Bill and I hold back a tad and listened to the wind and birds, indulging what we haven’t noticed before.
There is a patch of agave.
On the other side of the trail, is a community of a type of a pincushion cactus. They are blending in, as if camouflage.
This is a wonderfully secluded natural park to wander, know the ecological nature and all that one might seek as naturists.
We are surprised to see these succulent cacti in the pines.
We say our goodbyes and then, we drive to Jerome for a dinner after our hike.
It being the end of Sunday, we feel lucky to be able to find a parking spot in this up and down little town. Everything is connected by up and down steep stairways and a thin winding road twisting through town in switchbacks.
After dressing, we stop into the kaleidoscope store, sampling the variety of masterful apparatuses. There are manufactured kaleidoscopes priced from ten bucks, to several thousand dollars for hand constructed artful ones.
We then walk down the main street, passing a bar filled with bikers. The sound of an interpreted cover of the Beatles “I’ve just seen a Face” seeps out into the street from the open doors. DF and I dance gently, spinning hand in hand on the sidewalk.
The Haunted Hamburger opens its Halloween doors to us for a fun meal. It feels like hanging over a cliff out on the patio. The vista of the distant red mountains across the valley is majestic.
We travel back to our car, strip in my SUV once again and make our way back to Tucson.
During a nude hike, there is a sense of a safety in numbers. This was a walk about, with no backup, with a group of seven like-minded naturists. There was nobody there but our group, but, there is a psychological advantage to be had apart from being alone, or just paired. When naturists might be encountered as a group, we look to be nearly a movement and democratic majority. A beachhead is made, so to speak.
We become the reasonable normality with our numbers. This is something which is gauged on the principles of group conformist thought patterns. That kind of thinking makes sense to people…somehow. Often, when a clothed individual encounters a group of nudes, there is a sense of, “Gee, everybody seems to be doing it, maybe I should think this thing through.” With this bond, there is strength among the nudes.
In the past, this is how the official nude beaches have occurred. A group begins to frequent an area and establishes nudity as a known norm. There is that old unwritten rule; he who gets there first establishes the social norm. Newcomers are intruding and must be accepting, so the thinking goes. In time, the group grows, and the norm is cultivated there. The numbers eventually make it known as a popular nudist area.
In a group, it is easier to boldly hike nude, when encountering strangers and fellow hikers. It is assumed that it is easier to be accepted, to be regarded with less suspicion than a single person. There is however, probably more difference assumed in the safety of numbers, than is actual fact.
When out on a trail, we find that the greater odds are about 97 to three, that the reaction to nudity will not be adverse. I base this on polling and interviewing nude hikers on the internet. Most people are reasonable. When naked people are acting as though they are not naked people, which is acting as if nothing is unusual and on the up and up, others are more likely to be at ease. It is just like clothed hiking, it is not wise to fuel suspicions.
Even the tiny probability of a negative reaction is not a threat to us nudes. The dangers are law enforcement, or physical abuse. Law enforcement doesn’t track down naturist activities unless it is convenient, practical, or if it applies to the trail’s jurisdiction. No one likes to spin their wheels.
Even if alarmists are taking pictures and hurrying away to make a complaint to someone who will have nothing else to do, will they wait at a trailhead for hours in the chance that you might return?
Another factor is if the opinionated prude can find an authority. An individual naturist has a decision to make as to how to proceed, but facts and odds need to be considered.
As for physical abuse, my fantasies years ago, used to be about two dudes getting obnoxious, or offensive, and attacking a female that I would be with. Attack is even more infrequent than objection. It is the odds of being a rape victim. An animal attack would be more likely, I should think. These problems are often linked to alcohol, and/or perpetrators getting too comfortable during prolonged contact. This takes those 2% to 4% odds down to nil. The worst that might occur would be akin to construction workers making rude comments and sexual innuendos. Just walk away.
Another reasonable thought is that people don’t go out into a forest for confrontation. They are there for the opposite reasons. If a prude wants to give a lecture in some remote area, I would just state that I’m offended by them and that I’m leaving. Still this dwells on the slim odds that the person gets upset by their own ignorance. If I act comfortable and casual, they are likely to take my lead.
Some people think of hiking as a family activity, rated G. They expect that, especially when around camping areas and trail-heads. Our movie rating systems seem to reflect and reinforce those perceptions and identification with them. We’re sometimes dealing with that mentality. Nature to them seems to be some kind of Disneyland. Disneyland is a fantasy land. Disneyland imposes a false world and a narrow sense of values upon reality…but even “Pollyanna” had her skinny-dip scene.
What I’m getting at is that there is lots of mental squawk and worries about people that might not need to be of concern to a naked hiker. Out on a fairly remote trail, have no worries, smile, be happy and feel the expectation of being accepted, or at least politely tolerated.
Things are not always what they seem.